Those Cunning People

… at Slightly Foxed have sent out their latest quarterly summary of delights.  A quick glance down the contents list reveals a host of articles that leap at you, whilst the bibliography suggests that these may relate to some books or authors that I might want to explore.  It’s one of those packages that gets ripped open as if by a child after Santa’s been to call.  And they never disappoint.

But they’ve excelled themselves this time round, especially with the extra sheets that pop out the package.  Fliers, from the Foxy Ladies, are always in the same high quality as the product itself.  And just to continue with the festive theme I can see myself doing something previously unknown – Christmas shopping in March.

To celebrate 10 years of Slightly Foxed there’s a little charitable project underway.  It will raise funds for the Hospital School at Great Ormond Street, and at only £5 per volume could be an interesting little stocking-filler.

The project is Slightly Famous People’s Foxes, and includes contributions from a couple of dozen of our favourite writers.  Michael Palin’s in there, Dervla Murphy too.  And, of course, Robert Macfarlane.  Add to them Morpourgo, Mirren, Titchmarsh and Humble, to name but a few, and you know immediately they’re on to something with this one.

Each contributor has sketched ‘their’ fox, and penned a paragraph or more.  It looks good to me.  Mind you, outside the window, Lonely, the last surviving chicken since the fox came to call, is making a bit of a racket.  Oh, for fox ache…

And there’s more; exciting more.  The Marine Quarterly.  And I think immediately of the excitement of Favourite Uncle, just a few days ago, doing his own impression of that child at Christmas.  It was his birthday, and supplies for the new yacht were wrapped in intriguing shapes.  You wouldn’t believe the excitement of a bit of rope here, something to throw in the water there; not to mention socks, for your do-dahs.  Don’t ask.  Gobs were well and truly smacked.

So The Marine Quarterly, it came a week too late, for he would have enjoyed these tales, about journeys by sea; of salty air and sea monsters.  I had a look, you should too.  Oh my goodness, the extracts, the names…  And when I see Gavin Maxwell & Philip Marsden, Herman Melville & Jospeh Conrad in the same place at the same time, I know these are tales I want to read.

So Favourite Uncle will have to make do with thumbed copies being passed on; just as The Queen of Hearts does with Slightly Foxed.  These works deserve to be read, and read again.  I’m happy to pass them on, after adding more books to the TBR list.  I await my first Marine Quarterly just as an Urchin awaits the scuffling down the chimney.  Ah sending weans up chimneys, whatever happened to that…

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